Mystery novels have this certain appeal that cannot be denied. They can make hearts beat faster through their suspenseful, action-packed storylines, confound and at the same time excite readers with their plots, and enthrall and engage readers so much that they forget that life still exists outside of books! Author Brian Clements’s Anthology of Short Stories and Poems II follows the adventures of Private Detective Jack Donavon as he continues to search for the attacker that causes him to lose his hearing. 

Brian Clements embodies what a mystery writer should be: resourceful, imaginative, creative, and original.  

Writing that Heart-Stopping Mystery Novel 

Writing mystery novels can undoubtedly be a daunting task. How to write that mystery thriller that’s hair-raising, spine-tingling, fast-paced, and climatic are the goals of writers who want to thread the road toward becoming bestselling mystery and suspense writers. 

Starting the writing process can be a bit tricky and perhaps the most challenging part of the writing process for most writers. Below are some trade tips to help writers jumpstart their mystery writing careers. 

Characters should be with goal, passion, or motives

One of the qualities of a compelling mystery novel is that the characters are passionate and have motives for their every action. Remember that mystery fiction often revolves around the motives of its characters, such as the motive behind murder, motive behind stolen goods, motive behind an arson, etc. A character with a good motive is the ultimate hook that keeps readers on edge.  

Begin the story with a pivoting scene

Starting to write a book can be a bit tricky. So the best way to deal with this familiar writer’s dilemma is to begin the story with a climactic scene. It could be that the story started with an ongoing hot pursuit between the police offers and a probable suspect; it could be a gathering of investigators around a crime scene where a crime just recently took place, or it could be any life-threatening situation going on between the protagonist and the antagonist.

Beginning the story with a pivoting and climactic scene could set your readers’ expectations that the book is promising. The beginning part needs to immediately capture the readers’ attention to ensure that they stay put and read the rest of the story. 

Twist and unexpected events

Writers should not make it easy for their protagonists; after all, this is one effective way to keep the readers engage. Introduce twists and unexpected turns of events to the story. Writers should make the readers relate more with the protagonists through the protagonists’ struggles. Make the plots seem almost impossible for the story’s hero to solve.

Put the characters in jeopardy but still make a lifeline, however slim, enough to make the story’s heroes get out and save themselves. 

From the word itself “mystery,” a mystery novel should be rich with enigma, abundant with twists and turns, and cliffhangers. Keeping the readers on edge is the aim, making it almost impossible for them to put down the book. 

Ingenious and resourceful problem-solving skills

If the protagonist is a detective, they should be resourceful and creative when solving a case. The techniques utilized should be close to accurate, and the resources should almost always be factual or fact-based to make the story believable. They should adopt that critical thinking skills to look at problems from all angles. They should be resourceful, meaning that they fully utilize or maximize the use of any available material within their reach to help them solve a problem or get out of a sticky situation. 

High Stakes

Mystery novel writers should ensure that the stakes are high enough to make the villains complicate the plot so that the hero has a hard time solving the case. The stakes are high enough to make sure that the hero is so dedicated to solving the issue as soon as possible. High stakes refer to the sense of danger or tension ever-present throughout the story. The bigger the sense of danger, the better. The more tension there is, the better. That danger and tension are what drive the story’s conflict and thrill. 

Mystery fiction writing can be a bit intimidating and is not for everybody. The writer should first and foremost have an inherent love for mystery and suspense to inspire and motivate them to start writing. Yes, it can be intimidating and daunting, but certainly not impossible to achieve. Writers should draw inspiration from classic mystery writers. They should observe and study each writer’s style and technique and start from there. And remember the end goal of any mystery novel – keeping your readers on edge!

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